Bleeding bike hydraulic disk brakes: Builders Tips

First, make sure all connections are tight and don’t let any air into the system. Also, check the hose for cracks or pinholes. If all is well, then try back flushing.

You’ll need one of those pump oil cans and rubber tubing for a few bucks at any auto parts store. It’s simple. Fill the can with fluid, and attach the rubber hose to the nozzle. Open the bleeder (not too much, just enough to let fluid pass through) and the fill cap on the handle.

Pump the fluid in through the bleeder until it comes out of the fill hole. Hold the pump down on the can while closing the bleeder. If the system calls for having an air space in the handle, remove the correct amount of fluid.

I’ve been using this method on cars for the last 35 years. It’s a one man operation, and requires inexpensive tools. If you find it easier to climb under the car than remove all the wheels, you can do that too. You’ll need four jack stands, unless you have a truck or SUV that has plenty of room to slide under the car.

You’ll need four jars or cans to hold the spent fluid, the oil pump can, and some tubing. Any tubing that fits tightly over the bleeders will do; it doesn’t have to be clear. 1/4″ or 5/16″ ID is likely, but there are a few bleeders that will require 3/8″. You’ll also need a length of wood or metal bar to wedge between the brake pedal and the seat.

Fill the master, and replace the top. Install the tubing on all the bleeders and let them drain into the jars or cans. Open all the bleeders. Push down on the pedal, and wedge the bar in. Check the level of the master. If it’s less than 1/2 full, fill it. If not, let up on the pedal and repeat until the master is less than half full. You’ll now know how many times to pump the pedal before you have to hold it down. Fill and drain the master three or four times to make sure the dirty fluid is out of the system. The last time, leave it less than 1/2 full.
Close the front bleeders, and the rear one closest to the master. Starting from the furthest wheel from the master, pump fluid through the bleeder.

When the oil can is near empty, close the bleeder and remove the tube. Go to the master, and remove fluid until it’s less than half full. A syringe, hydrometer, or turkey baster all work great for this. Repeat for the other rear wheel, then the front on the opposite side of the master, then the final wheel. It sounds like a lot of work, but it’s really not bad.

Of course, if you have someone to help, it’s a lot easier. Or you could buy a pressure kit for $50-$60, or a pressure nozzle system for about $30. Stay away from the cheap $15 HF kits because they don’t last. Also, this system of flushing is not recommended for vehicles with traction control that use the braking system.
And, you may or may not have to do an additional procedure to flush the ABS system. Repair manuals for your vehicle will describe the procedure for ABS flushing and bleeding, and whether it has to be done before or after flushing the main system.

~ The Kid, Atomic Zombie Builders Forum

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Spokes4Folks Mobile Bike Clinic – Brighter Planet

Support Spokes4Folks Mobile Bike Clinic, Charleston, West Virginia – aiming for $5,000 grant

A Project Fund project proposed by ElkhoundSpokes4Folks is currently developing a cooperative bike repair shop and earn-a-bike program, and would like to expand into a mobile bike clinic. If they get the grant, they plan to base the clinic design off of either the Lode Runner Tandem or the Kyoto Cruiser.

“This project proposal is part of the Brighter Planet Project Fund, an initiative to support projects in U.S. communities that fight climate change and/or help people adapt to its consequences. Brighter Planet contributes to the fund whenever a customer purchases or uses one of its products. The project(s) with the most votes at the close of a voting period receive grants, until the fund is exhausted for that month.”

Read all about it and vote for this innovative project:

Aussie aims to break record on recumbent lowracer – Around Oz Record Attempt

Atomic Zombie bike building guru, John Lewis, posted in the Builders Forum about Peter Heal, who is riding his recumbent bike around Australia, aiming to break the current record.

“The current record is held by Erik Straarup and is 51 days and some hours.

Peter Heal alias Poit, set out from near the Harbour Bridge Sydney Just after Midnight Saturday.
Tonight at a bit after 8 pm he was in Ballina having ridden about 750 km. He is looking to ride about 500 km further than Erik and finish in 50 or less days. Something like 15,600 km (about 9,800 miles) alone and unsupported.

Pete is riding a VK2 LowRacer kitted out with a tailbox and lights. All his gear is in the tailbox. So far he has had 2 punctures and a broken spoke. Getting out of Sydney was slowed by the midnight crowd of drunken Yobbos.

He’s riding well within capabilities at present. I think he’s done PBP twice. Also our equivilent Perth Albany Perth. Last year he rode Perth to Sydney in about 11 days.

If you would like to follow on look here.

Some pics of bike and equipment:…d%20Oz%202010/

An Atomic Zombie salute to Peter and his quest!